The purpose of the activity is to have each individual student demonstrate understanding while interpreting words or sentences presented as they hear and/or read the information. Students listen to the teacher’s sentences and attempt to be the first person to touch the correct image or word on the flyswatter sheet according to what the teacher says. This activity adds a competitive element to keep students on-task.
The teacher divides the students into pairs and gives each pair a flyswatter sheet. The sheet has images or words that are part of a unit of study.
The pairs sit together and place the flyswatter sheet between them.
The teacher says a phrase or sentence in the target language to identify a one particular image or word on the flyswatter sheet.
The students listen carefully and race to be the first person in their pair to put their finger on the correct item on the flyswatter sheet.
The teacher reveals the correct answer before giving another clue.
The content of the flyswatter sheet could be images, but it could also be words, which would help students develop literacy by matching oral/aural language to written forms. See the sample of each kind of flyswatter sheet in Images below.
By doing flyswatter in pairs like this instead of as a whole class, the teacher avoids having only a few students engaged at a time, which happens when only two students are involved at a time.
At all proficiency levels it is best to use phrases or complete sentences instead of isolated words. The sentences provide both repeated exposures to target structures and a meaningful context for the words being reviewed. For example, instead of saying “snake”, the teacher could say a simple sentence like “I am a snake” or might give a more challenging sentence like “I am a long green animal that slithers”.
The teacher may choose to have students keep score depending on the personalities and age of students. Keeping score could also be done using any relevant practices from the target culture, if desired. See the sample flyswatter score sheet in the images below.
While they are saying each sentence, the teacher should walk around the room to monitor students’ behavior and provide assistance/feedback when necessary.
The teacher may consider having students use one finger to touch the flyswatter sheet. Alternatively, pencils could be used to avoid students accidentally touching each other’s’ hands. It is advisable that the teacher clearly states at the beginning of the activity that students should not use their whole hand to smack down on the correct answer.
The teacher should be careful to make sure that each clue they give has only one correct answer.
The teacher may decide to include both written words and pictures on the flyswatter sheet as additional scaffolding for some or all learners.
Higher proficiency students could be asked to give the clues for the game.
Students might work in pairs or small groups to generate clues for the images or words prior to playing the game. The teacher would collect the student generated clues and use them during the game.
Flyswatter sheet for each pair of students